Reel Action: Get the Gringo (starring Mel Gibson)

Rating: 3 on 4

Tagline: The odds are against him. So is everyone else.

Directed by Adrien Grunberg
Starring Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Kevin Hernandez

THE PLAN: After a robbery escape goes wrong, Mel Gibson is thrown into the most bizarre prison in Mexico where he attempts to learn about, then destroy, its criminal hierarchy with the help of a 10 year old kid.

THE KILL: Before the internet, Mel Gibson was on top of the world in Hollywood as one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. From hardcore action movies (LETHAL WEAPON) to romantic dramas (FOREVER YOUNG), to medieval epics (BRAVEHEART), the dude was liked by audiences and critics alike. But due to his personal life making it in the news, the man has fallen from grace and it’s a damn shame because he can still deliver a piece of entertaining cinema. As is the case of GET THE GRINGO, a hardcore Mel Gibson action flick of yesteryear, and one that will make you remember the classic Mel Gibson and why his movies were just so gosh-darn fun to watch.

Gibson is older now, his face is full of in-depth wrinkles and scowl-fueled creases, and in all honesty, he looks like a guy suffering from the worse hangover ever. But isn’t that the staple of a bonafide Mel Gibson vehicle? It’s that look of haggard dogshit that makes the man so much more man and badass, and adds to his character here, a career criminal trying to get his stolen money back while stuck in the most effed up prison system in the world (which is less like a prison and more like a shanty-town or the must criminally run village in history). Gibson’s gringo is cool and collected, he’s smart and savy, and everything (and I mean everything) is going against him. Is this a metaphor for Gibson’s career at this point? Not a bad way to think about it…

A truth has always been said about Gibson in that the guy can portray pain like no other. And that’s more or less true in GET THE GRINGO, although he doesn’t get his ass kicked as much as he’s kicking ass, but when the ass-kicking commences, the look of gut-hurt pain is there, which makes the guy even more badass and likable than before. But enough about that. GET THE GRINGO is old school violent Mel Gibson but also funny Mel Gibson, as he lets loose a mouthful of Riggs-like one-liners and jokes throughout, making the film all that more enjoyable.

As an entry in the Reel Action hall of fame, GET THE GRINGO hits most the marks: an awesome car chase (check!), plenty of fist-fights (check!), an epic Western-style shoot-out (check!), a couple of explosions (check!), Peter Stormare as a bad guy (check!), a high body count (check!), blood-splattered bullet wounds (check!), and a hero that bleeds testosterone (check!). Add all that shit up, and you have a solid R rated action flick that seriously doesn’t give a f*ck. It may not be non-stop action, it may not be over-the-top action, but when the action goes down, it will have you cheering in your seat and thirsty for more and that’s all one can really ask for these days—plus, it’s Mel f*cking Gibson in the driver seat!

The one thing it lacks is some gratuitous nudity, or any kind of T&A, but there is a bit of a love story that’s relatively believable, and they manage to have a kid in the mix that’s not annoying but rather entertaining—which is great, considering the large role he plays in the movie. An annoying kid could have killed this flick, but the casting of Kevin Hernandez was perfect. And while Peter Stormare is the bomb in anything he does, his part is actually quite small. The main bad dude is fairly weak and does nothing more than walk around trying to look hardcore. Not really a dude up for a match against angry and spiteful Mel Gibson, but whatever. It’s not a perfect movie… but sure is entertaining!

For those who’ve missed seeing Mel Gibson rock the big screen, or simply just the no-holds-barred Mel Gibson action movie that made him famous more than 20 years ago, then GET THE GRINGO is for you. Forget the hype around the man’s personal life, he can still make a goddamn entertaining movie full of hardcore action/violence, a pinch of comedy, and plenty of that Mel Gibson charm that made him the superstar he was way back when. If you enjoy seeing a man take a beating and looking like hell, then look no further than GET THE GRINGO.


The trailer for GET THE GRINGO!

TOP DEATH: An epic Western-style shoot out is going full force in the streets when a thug throws a grenade at a mother and son. Gibson leaps, catches said grenade, throws it back at the thug, of which explodes on contact, obliterating said bad guy into spaghetti sauce. AWESOME.

TOP ACTION SCENE: The shoot out at the OK Corral is epic, but that’s not to dismiss the car chase sequence in the beginning, a scene that starts off going full throttle and doesn’t let up until the very end. There’s gunfire, explosions, and a couple of clowns being up to no good.

TOP HOMOEROTIC MOMENT: Mel Gibson has no room for homoerotica.

FEMALE EXPLOITATION: Mel Gibson also has no room for women either, though a half a butt cheek is reveled during a not-so-fun prisoner attack, which doesn’t count.

DRINKING GAME: Every time Mel Gibson looks like he needs a drink... YOU have to drink!

TRIVIA: The film’s original title was (and still is in the UK) HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION, which makes a whole helluva lotta sense upon watching the film.

Tags: reel action



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